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Mária Svarbová

"In the Swimming Pool"

Maria Svarbova

The lens of photographer Maria Svarbova has captured hauntingly still images of women in various stages of swimming in her photographic series, "In the Swimming Pool." Maria says that her inspiration came courtesy of the stark architecture of her local swimming pool in Slovakia; an eighty-year old building that was constructed back when swimming was "more a social duty than a sport" which is lined with plain white tiles and "No Diving" signs. "I was struck by the calmness of the water and its mirror-like reflections," she says. "That and the signs - there were so many! For a space designed for exercise, they certainly like to tell you what you can and can't do!" Although the photographer has always chosen to depict people as the main subject matter of her art, it's easy to question, at least at first, if in this series the photographed subjects play a supporting role to the main star, i.e. Socialist Era public swimming pools found throughout Slovakia. Started in 2014, the series' strong visual identity uses the swimming pool locations as austere geometric backdrops. Within these, the female subjects stand out, not thanks to any movement or feeling emoted from their controlled poses - as they actually appear to be almost frozen, like mannequins - but due to their brightly colored swimsuits and swimming caps that pop as the statement elements of each composition.